Beat the holiday hangover with humour! | Daily News

Beat the holiday hangover with humour!

You wouldn’t think with Christmas and the New Year barely out of sight that anyone would be campaigning for another holiday. But I am. I need a holiday from the holidays. I am exhausted. Not just tired. I am knackered, bushed, and dead beat. After much reflection I have decided that I suffer from chronic ‘Holiday Hangover.’

Of course that is a valid medical condition! I discovered it and diagnosed the symptoms myself. And more likely than not, you suffer from it too. No one needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one. Besides, it’s the perfect time to find ‘el-cheapo’ vacation bargains. When the hustle of the holiday season slows down, the deals heat up in the travel industry. It’s called the holiday offshoot when travellers can find secret pockets of savings in some unlikely places.

Now post-holiday hangover has nothing to do with alcohol. Ok, ok, maybe it does a little. Fine, I agree possibly more than a little. But that is just the final leg of a mad relay that makes holidays a life-sucking experience. Holiday hangover is the feeling of complete depletion you get after any and pretty much every major holiday.

Come on, admit it. You all know exactly what I’m talking about. You know that, after a holiday weekend, comes a blue Monday feeling constraining you to begin begging for an extra day to recoup. If you are Sri Lankan you know exactly what I’m talking about. Yes that is because all of you are party animals, of the ‘nava gilunath band choon’ types. And it goes without saying that we all belong to the most hospitable clan in the world which pounces on any excuse ‘to put a party’.

It begins with the preparations. That is because no self-respecting Sri Lankan family just gathers for a quiet seasonal lunch. Actually, there’s no such thing as a quiet luncheon in Sri Lankan families. But, getting back to the blessed event, preparations for the holidays are as detailed and complicated as a royal wedding.

What usually starts out as ‘just immediate family’ quickly degenerates into a cast of scores of extras. Of course the third cousins can come too! They are family after all! They want to bring along their friends and lonely neighbours. No problem! And before you know it things go from family gathering to public function.

Let’s start with the refreshments. There is no such thing as having enough food and drinks available. If you think 30 people are coming, you cater for 60. Then when one of them asks if they can bring ‘something’ your standard answer would be ‘no.’

God forbid that guests don’t get that fourth serving. If each person doesn’t take home a doggy bag that lasts a week, then you haven’t done your job. And when it comes to drinks, well, let’s just say Sri Lankans really know how to throw a party.

Even when you start out with enough alcohol to sterilise several hospital wards, at some point during the event there will be an ‘ice run’ which will produce yet more spirited beverages with their corresponding mixers. Hey, it’s just in case, you know! But it’s the kids’ company I long for most at holiday parties or any party for that matter. I feel they are kindred spirits, more delightfully childlike than most childishly pestilential adults.

Besides I give them credit for their intelligence and sense of humour, which far surpasses those of many moronic adults of my acquaintance. So it’s the end of the holiday season, but the youthful holiday spirit is still with the entertainer.

That’s because for me there’s no business like show business. As for the others they are still too lethargic to get into the swing of things. Their work ethic seems to embrace the ‘no business like no business’ attitude. As your unrivalled raconteur and entertainer I have been the hit of most of the seasonal parties.

I’m learning how to do new routines that are normally a little above my intelligence capabilities. But you have to concede I am still one hell of a guy, after all. Yet I have devised a plan that works. I made the very youngest segment of the audience laugh, knowing that small children’s chuckles are effectively contagious. You see, to me laughter is an instant vacation as well as a vocation.

At the last bash tiny kids rolled over chortling uproariously over my jokes. All the others including some snooty adults went into guffaws at their delightful gurgling giggles. But a while later just as their parents are having a good time they begin their baby whining cries and insist that they head for home. Their parents begin reading the riot act to them and berating them with long homilies on responsibility and behaviour.

The tiniest sextet of four-year-old brats begin a howling cacophony of sobbing and rolling on the floor in limb-thrashing tantrums. That’s when I begin prowling the parquet like a panther while a bunch of hooligans begin lighting firecrackers on the podium outside the apartment.

Above the thunder of firecracker blasts I find a packet of unused balloons. I stretch a couple of them and announce quite loudly that I am going to defend our beleaguered fortress that had come under enemy fire. “All troops to the battlements. We are under siege,” I yell. I stride purposefully into the pantry and fill a couple of balloons with tap water. The tantrums and sobbing subside and are replaced by morbid curiosity as they follow me to the balcony.

I fling the water-filled balloons with deliberation at the firework fanatics below while intoning dramatically: “Bombs away!” The children watch fascinated as the water-bombs explode on impact in a showery cascade of silver liquid sending the drenched pyrotechnic pirates scuttling for cover. The little ones clap in glee and chortle uncontrollably while looking up at me with worshipful eyes. Even the seemingly uninterested teenagers titter hysterically and glance at me with respectful admiration.

Yes siree, the old man had bombed the rest of the adult clan clean out of the popularity stakes. It was a detoxifying restorative to my jaded spirits. And anyone who imagines that real heroes suffer from holiday hangover should have their heads examined!

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